Back in the late 1 8005 and early 1 9005 when African Americans were recognized as people by the law, there was still resistance from the majority of the country. While the constitution declared blacks equal to whites, many still didn’t believe or understand these particular views. The struggling African Americans were caught in a predicament with each other over the best way to gain respect and civil rights. So, some took to the pen and paper. Writers like Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois agreed economically, but when it came to issues of education and politics, they differed greatly.
In fact, the mid- late 19005 poet Dudley Randall depicted this debate precisely in his poem “Booker T. and W. E. B. Du Bois. ” In his poem, Randall frames the debate in a rhythmic, compare and contrast manner, while making sure not to take any particular side. Instead, he led a more omniscient point Of view. This poem’s masterful combination of rhyme and contrast perfectly depicts the black controversy of that time. With whites already against them, African Americans struggled to unify and find common ground to fight for what they all demanded.
Randall’s deliberate use of form, paired with his poetic incertitude and suggestiveness, brought his message alive on the page. His rhyme schemes and stanza lengths also help contribute to Randall’s meaning by aiding in driving hope the main point and contrast between the two historical figures, Booker T. Washington and W. E. B. Du Bois. The comparison of points by Du Bois parallel to the contradictory attitudes aid in framing the poets base for the debate. When Washington argues “But work, and save, and buy a house,” Du Bois automatically replies “For what can property avail if dignity nd justice fail? The rhetorical mode of compare and contrast, back and forth dialogue, continue through the entire piece. In the first half, Washington believes manual labor is more valuable than “studying chemistry or Greek,” where W. E. B. follows as the antithesis and argues that ‘the right to cultivate the brain” is equally important to the “skill of hand. ” The contrast in these two stanzas is not solely what they argue, but how they argue as well. Randall emphasizes each of their speaking manners; Booker T. uses passive voice whereas W. E. B. uses the active voice.
During the second part, the subject of Civil Rights is debated. While Washington believes they should “just keep your mouths shut, do not grouse,” and avoid “uproar over civil rights,” Du Bois counters with the claim that “unless you help make the laws/Theyll steal your house… ” These several lines reached the core of division between the two opposing factions with the black community. Randall starts with Washington speaking each time, and then Du Bois addresses his affirmations point by point (while often using the same rhyming scheme).